Naas report: Hardline has Fairyhouse date after digging deep to land feature

Sun 25 Feb 2018

Hardline made it four wins from six starts over timber when battling bravely to victory in the Paddy Power Onside App Novice Hurdle at Naas.

Impact Factor attempted to make all in the Grade Two contest, but Hardline moved into contention approaching the last and jumped the final flight upsides that rival.

Gordon Elliott's 6-1 chance found plenty for Davy Russell's pressure to just get the measure of Impact Factor and score by half a length, with Speak Easy taking third.

"He's grand and consistent. He keeps doing it and he's a bit like Mitchouka yesterday," said Elliott. "He battled better than I thought he would. He was giving everything weight so that was a nice performance.

"We'll look for something in Fairyhouse. I'd say we'll keep him at home."

Uradel caused something of a surprise when streaking clear in the closing stages of the Paddy Power Betting Shops Rated Novice Hurdle.

Willie Mullins was responsible for two of the six-runner field, with his front-running Contingency the 5-2 favourite, while his eventual winner was an unfancied 14-1 chance.

However, Uradel crept into contention under Danny Mullins and was travelling much the best heading to the last, where he skipped clear of Best Behaviour to score by seven lengths.

"That was a nice surprise," said Mullins.

"We'll look for another winners race for him. We'll keep him to the same type of race.

"His break obviously did him the power of good."

Fitzhenry got up in dying strides to land the valuable WhatOddsPaddy? Novices' Handicap Chase for trainer Paul Nolan.

A big leap at the fourth last put the 11-4 favourite on the heels of the leaders and he appeared to be in the driving seat on the home straight, but a slightly slow jump allowed Last Encounter to open up an advantage.

However, a strong Barry Geraghty drive was enough to get Fitzhenry back in front close home and he registered a neck success, with Coeur Joyeux back in third.

"He's a little unlucky not to have won his last four in a row, he was on the wrong side of the photo finishes," said Nolan.

"He got hindered at the last again and I thought he wasn't going to get back up again but in fairness to Barry he galvanised him.

"He'll probably head to Navan now for the three-mile (novice handicap chase) final in March.

"He's a horse that will improve with a bit of age as well, he's a little bit of shell of himself. It's great that he's won a decent pot."

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